Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back to the Blue Plate

As the weather turns warm and we do more of our cooking on the grill, Phineas and I like to eat the staple dishes that carried us through the colder months one last time before the summer heat sets in. So, for this week's Blue Plate, I am making one of our weeknight staples: Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

The recipe I use is based mostly on a Mario Batali recipe, but without some of the flourishes. It relies on a few simple, but good quality, ingredients. Here goes:
1/2 lb spaghetti, linguine or any long pasta
1/4 lb (4 oz) pancetta, or use guanciale or good ole bacon
2 oz parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
2 eggs
olive oil
salt & black pepper
While you bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti, do all of the following: Cut your pancetta into small strips and brown it in a pan with a little olive oil. Drain, reserving the drippings. Grate the cheese. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the parmesan and a generous amount of black pepper. When the pasta is just al dente, drain and quickly add it to the bowl with the egg and cheese mixture. Use tongs to toss the pasta around, coating it with the sauce. Add the pancetta and continue to toss until the sauce thickens a bit. If it is not smooth or saucy enough you can add some of the pan drippings, olive oil or a little bit of the pasta cooking liquid.

Additions/Variations: Saute onion or garlic in the pancetta pan and add that in. If you want to make it vegetarian, omit the meat and add frozen peas (cook along with the pasta or saute with onion/garlic) or another veggie. Parsley - or any other chopped fresh herb - would also not be out of place in this dish.

Wow, I am getting hungry just thinking about this.

On egg safety: Adding piping hot pasta to the egg mixture cooks the eggs. But if you are not convinced or excessively worried about undercooked eggs, you could always use pasteurized eggs or an egg substitute product.


30 before 30 said...

It still blows my mind hearing that you eat eggs!

Clio said...

Well, I still don't "eat eggs". The eggs in the sauce are not egg-y in the least (you wouldn't know you were eating eggs). Cooked eggs (scrambled, omelet, over easy, etc) still gross me out. But I'm working on it...

30 before 30 said...

I'm like that with browned eggs. If my eggs are browned and not loaded with other stuff (potatoes, onions, meat) to cover the taste of the brown part, I can't touch them!